Eurojust looks back at a very successful and cooperative collaboration with the German Presidency of the EU in the second half of 2020. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the German Presidency achieved concrete results for the Agency. Most notably, the financial situation of Eurojust was secured for the next seven years. In the final days of the Presidency, continuation of the cooperation with the UK in criminal matters was ensured.
During the German Presidency the most difficult discussions on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021 to 2027 were finalised, thus securing a long-term perspective for the Union and of course for Eurojust. For the next seven years, the Eurojust financial envelope will be increased to EUR 350 million. The 2021 budget however already granted Eurojust EUR 500.000 above the MFF level. In this financial framework, Eurojust will be able to continue to support the dramatically rising number of requests for cross-border judicial cooperation.
In the final days of Germany’s EU Presidency, the most challenging of negotiations on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement were successfully concluded. The agreement also establishes a new framework for law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, including Eurojust.
During the German Presidency, the first ever Interparliamentary Committee meeting on Eurojust was organised, on 1 December 2020. For the first time since the Eurojust Regulation became applicable in December 2019, Members of the European Parliament and national parliaments of Member States convened to evaluate the Agency’s activities and intensify parliamentary oversight of Eurojust. This evaluation was followed up by an in-depth discussion with MEP Axel Voss who, as the rapporteur of the new legal framework, can be seen as “the father of Eurojust” and who takes great interest in the proper development of Eurojust.
Furthermore, the involvement of Eurojust in the new Victims’ Rights Platform was set in motion. Together with the European Commission, on 22 September 2020 the German Presidency organised a high-level conference on the EU Strategy on Victims’ Rights, a new flagship policy for the EU. During this conference, Eurojust Vice-President Mr Klaus Meyer-Cabri announced that the Agency was stepping up its engagement in this area by taking an active part in the new platform.
Under the German Presidency, the Council of the EU Ministers of Justice adopted Conclusions on the Eurojust Annual Report for 2019, expressing its great support for the work done by Eurojust. In addition, the German Presidency made sure that the new internal rules necessary for Eurojust to deal effectively with the Covid-19 crisis were adopted rapidly, The German Presidency also saw the negotiations on a Working Agreement of Eurojust with the new European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO) being concluded in principle – and in record time.
Germany’s EU Presidency was accompanied by an art exhibition. With the instrumental support of gallery owner and long-time resident of The Netherlands, Helga Hofman, Eurojust was privileged to exhibit works by the German sculptor and painter Stefan Pietryga. At the heart of the exhibition were three ultramarine poplar trees, highly symbolic of the Eurojust mission: trees stand for protection and the Agency is part of the EU policy “EU protects”, while Eurojust’s ultimate goal is better protection from crime for all people in the EU and beyond.